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Joint PEF/AIAS lecture: The Textiles at Masada - an insight into the material culture of Classical Antiquity

4pm, Thursday 17th March 2011

Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, The British Museum, London WC1

A lecture by Hero Granger-Taylor, Palestine Exploration Fund

Jointly with the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society

Followed by wine

Lecture abstract

Fragments of many different types of textile have been discovered at Masada. Rather than the tumultuous events for which Masada is most famous, most of these objects reflect the daily life of the people who lived there. The majority of the textiles probably belonged to the people who occupied Masada during the First Revolt against the Romans (66 to 73 or 74 CE), the “sicarii” and their families and other groups who seem to have eventually joined them.

Textile fragments have been discovered in many different contexts on the site. Taken as a whole this corpus represents almost the complete range of textile types made and used at the time. Within three overarching categories – clothing, domestic textiles and utilitarian textiles – the precise function of many of the original fabrics can be recognised from their fragmentary remains. Items to be discussed in the talk include mantles (tallitot), tunics, cloaks, loincloths, footwrappers, hairnets, textile amour, banners, cushion and mattress covers, sacks and animal equipment.

A catalogue of the Masada textiles will be published as Volume IX in the Masada Final Reports series.

Hero Granger-Taylor is an independent scholar based in London. She is currently working on groups of textiles found in Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

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